For displaced, misplaced, and nostalgic ex-Bronxites

The Blind Date

by Norm Kossoff


t is 1948 and Wade Junior High School graduation is just behind me. Now it is time for the"big time" regular high school. My parents had pressured me to choose De Witt Clinton High School near Mosholu Parkway in the North Bronx. I argued for William Howard Taft High School which was only blocks away, east of the Grand Concourse on 170th Street. Our apartment was within walking distance and I could avoid taking the elevated IRT train early each morning. Taft would also allow me some extra sleep each morning and a saving of precious carfare.

"We want you to go to an all boys school," they argued, "so that you will not have any distractions, and maybe you'll get some better grades"!

It would have been hard to fight that one with "MA! I need some distractions"!

Now being at the age of "raging hormones", and not a girl in sight. Some serious remedial action was needed. Sure, I could always just hang out in front of the corner candy store, for the rest of my life. Yeah, right! My pal Sam, alias Sam "Schmooie" Silverman, ("Schmoos" was a World War II cartoon character, scrawled on walls everywhere during the war) was dating a dynamite-looking girl from Taft (wuddent ya know!).

"Shirley can fix ya up on a blind date," Schmooie offered, "and she won't stick ya, cause all her friends are nice, so don't ya worry."

I agreed to take a chance, and made the necessary phone call to Esther Futterman, who was touted to have a "great personality". This was another of the warning remarks of the times when accepting phone numbers for dating. "Call her early in the week." If you call after Thursday, she will refuse. Those days, nice girls didn't want you to think that they were accepting when they had no other options. This was all new to me, and sounding very complicated….

As luck would have it, Esther turned out to be a pretty and perky young lady. She lived only one block away on an adjacent avenue and in a building that backed up to mine. We caught an early movie at the Loew's Paradise near Fordham Road on the Grand Concourse, and then headed afterwards across the street to Krum's ice cream parlor for their famous frappes and sundaes. Home via bus, with some nice hand-holding, made this blind date rank a strong nine out of a possible ten..We agreed to see each other again, as I tried catching my breath from walking up the four flights to her apartment door.

"Open your bedroom window as soon as you get back home," Ester told me, and I left with a bit of a "why?" look on my face...

Fifteen minutes later, as we both leaned on our bedroom window sills only yards away from each other, she blew me a kiss across our common backyard alley. Oh, for the return of those carefree and youthful days in the wonderful Bronx.

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